Once when I was two I came within one Fahrenheit degree of dying. It wasn’t until after the doctors saved me that they bothered to tell my parents.
“Your son was in critical condition and very well could have died.” Never mind that their intelligent medical instruments were too dumb to know I was a girl.
Had there been a traffic jam or a flat tire, I might not be here to tell this story. Alas, they coaxed me back from the edge with some good old fashioned H two O. But something in me had changed.
For a week, I wouldn’t speak or make eye contact with anyone. It was as though I were awake, present of body, but somewhere else of mind and spirit.
To this day I wonder where I went. Into what darkness I retreated.
Jokingly, I will say I was trying to escape. Life was not a choice, I’d laugh. And I’d found a way out.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I might return there–wherever there is. Perhaps I might retreat once more into the same darkness, the same absence of being. I imagine I touched the void, thumbed its edges, found its texture soothing, beckoning even. And that when brought back to consciousness, life had once more been involuntarily thrust upon me. And in this thwarting I dissociated. I dove inward and headlong into some heretofore undiscovered nook of my soul. And now I’m simply waiting for the window to open once more.